tips, tips and more tips!

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I freaking LOVE those tips that make me wonder if I lived under a rock all these years!

These were gathered from some old  Farmers Almanac publications.  Let’s jump in….

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  • Before peeling an orange or juicing a lemon or lime, grate the peel (zest) into a small container and freeze for later use
  • Stale bread?  Cut into 1 inch cubes to make croutons.  Toss with seasonings and oil and bake in a 325 degree oven until crisp
  • OR use Chex cereal instead of croutons on salads
  • Add a pinch of baking powder when mashing potatoes to make them fluffier.
  • Mix in broken chips in the bottom of a nearly empty potato chip bag with bread crumbs to coat chicken and fish
  • Substitute club soda for milk in pancakes to make them lighter and fluffier
  • When slow cooking pinto beans, add a carrot.  When the beans are half cooked, rinse the beans and discard the carrot.  Add more water and a new carrot.  Finish cooking
  • Keep a slice of white bread in the cookie jar to keep cookies moist
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the water when boiling pasta
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to chili to help to smooth out the flavors and round out the heat
  • Add shredded carrots to spaghetti sauce to cut acidity
  • If soup or stew is too salty, add one cut up potato
  • Place hot hard boiled eggs into ice cold water or add 1 Tbs.vinegar to the boiling water and the shells will come off easily

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  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil and place in refrigerator to increase from spoiling quickly.
  • Dip the cut end of banana in sugar to prevent browning
  • Store yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream containers upside down in the fridge
  • OR add a pinch of ginger when cooking pinto beans
  • Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays for use later in cold ‘iced’ coffees
  • Put a wet paper towel into a sealed plastic bag with lettuce to keep it from turning brown

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  • Gather old ‘net’ onion bags together with a rubber band and use as a scrubby when washing dishes
  • To removed baked on food from a frying pan, put a dryer sheet and warm water into the an.  Soak overnight and then wash the pan
  • Spray a dirty cast iron pan generously with oven cleaner and put into a plastic bag large enough to completely contain it.  Close the bag securely and set it aside for 24 hours.  Remove the pan, discard the bag and thoroughly wash and re-season the pan
  • Spray a spoon or measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before measuring honey or molasses
  • Use a baggie on your hand when greasing baking pans

just a ‘grillin…..

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Backyard grilling!  It wouldn’t be summertime without it! 

ALTHOUGH……………… (leave it to me to throw a wet blanket on your picnic)

Grilling – whether by gas flame or charcoal or even an electric element – demands temperatures 4 – 6 times higher than can be reached in your oven!  And unfortunately, the high heat that makes that wonderful caramelization and browning has a less desirable aspect…..

Your food may become charred before the inside is cooked through!

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Another hazard is cancer causing substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which form when the fat from the meat drips onto hot coals and then sneak into your food through the smoke.  HCA’s or heterocyclic amines, are created from heating meat, poultry or fish to a too high temperature and have been linked to cancer.

But before I totally destroy your backyard plans….here are ways to minimize the cancer risks for you and your family:

  1. Avoid flare-ups, since burning juice or fat can produce harmful smoke.  If smoke from dripping fat is too heavy, move the food to another section of the grill, rotate the grill or reduce the heat.
  2. Cook meat until it is done without charring it.  Remove any charred pieces — don’t eat them.
  3. Don’t place the heat source directly under the meat.  For example, place coals slightly to the side so the fat doesn’t drip on them.  Keep a water bottle handy for coals that become hot or flare up.
  4. Cover the grill with punctured aluminum foil before you cook.  The foil protects the food from the smoke and fire.
  5. Keep meat portions small so they don’t have to spend as long on the grill.
  6. Defrost frozen meats before grilling.  {source}

Grilling is best reserved for quick cooking foods, like fish or even thinner cuts of meat and poultry.  How about throwing some vegetables , such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers or mushrooms on that grill?  Even fruit like, apples, peaches or bananas are great grilled!

Now, get outside and have some spring-time-can’t-wait-for-summertime, BACKYARD FUN!!

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Umeboshi plums…..time to prune..

LivingWell_UmeBashaPlum Ok, I know plums……but Umeboshi plums?  Had to do a little digging to find out about this superfood!

Umeboshi plums are a Japanese fruit, and are part of the apricot family.  They have a bizarre growth process as the fruit needs to ferment for a month in sea salt brine before it is edible. And as you expected, it has a taste that is salty, fruity and tangy! Think pickled plums…. and people say they are crazy good!

During the Middle Ages,  the pickled plum was the soldier’s most important field ration. It was used to flavor foods such as rice and vegetables, and its high acidity made it an excellent water and food purifier, as well as an effective antidote for battle fatigue.

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Supposedly a superb hangover cure, the umeboshi plum is still used for a variety of medical purposes such as counteracting nausea, reducing fevers, and controlling coughs.

Some say you can schmear the plum on toast, however it just might be a bit too….tangy.  Try it in salads first, pureeing small batches which will replace your vinegar and salt.

Orange Ume Dressing

Makes 1 cup

This is a refreshing summer dressing for tossed salads and noodle salads.

3 level tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or 3 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons umeboshi paste or minced umeboshi                      

2 tablespoons light sesame or olive oil                      

1 tablespoon lemon juice                      

Juice of 1 – 1 1/2 oranges (to taste)                      

1 teaspoon minced green onion or chives (optional)

Toast sesame seeds (if using) in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When seeds are fragrant and begin to pop, remove from pan to prevent them from overcooking and becoming bitter. Blend first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Mix in scallions or chives (if desired), and chill for 30 minutes before using. (via)

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So…. what do you put this Grey Poupon?

 Well, yum!!  Remember the commercials?  Ok, if you are in an age bracket that rhymes with schmifty or above….(not necessarily my age…ahem…)…then you remember the two limousine’s pulling up next to each other and asking for some Grey Poupon….but of course! If you are not schmifty or above, then nevermind.

Hey, some fan-freaking-tastic recipes can be made with this magical mustard!

Herb Roasted Potatoes (via)

  • 1/3 cup Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 6 medium red skin potatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into chunks

directions

Mix all ingredients except potatoes in small bowl. Place potatoes in lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan or on shallow baking sheet; toss with mustard mixture. Bake at 425° for 35 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stirring occasionally.

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Delish Mustard Dressing

2 Tablespoons stone ground Dijon Mustard

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

Mix all ingredients in small mason jar.  Shake like your life depends on it.  Pour over your favorite salad.

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 Chicken Dijon (via)

2 Tbsp.  GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp.  water
1/2 tsp.  garlic powder
1/4 tsp.  Italian seasoning
4 small  boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
HEAT oven to 375°F.  Mix mustard, water and seasonings.PLACE chicken in shallow pan; brush with mustard mixture.BAKE 20 min. or until chicken is done

put on your cape and try these superfoods!

Want vitality?  Need a little weight loss here and there?  Well,  climb aboard the Superfoods train!

Some foods can be described as healthy, then there are those that are super healthy Salmon can safegaurd the heart.  Avocados can lower cholesterol.  And berries?  They are loaded with antioxidants that fight cancer!  Now, that’s super!!

Superfoods can strengthen our immune systems and also prevent and combat disease, and the best part is that they are tasty!!

Check out these super recipes (turn your cape around and use as an apron)

OATS AND RASPBERRIES PANCAKES (via Ehren Litzenberger of BLD Restaurant)

Makes 12 servings

8 eggs

4 cups buttermilk

2 cups plain yogurt

2 sticks butter (melted)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbls. baking powder

2 Tbls. baking soda

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups rolled oats

1 pint fresh raspberries

Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, yogurt and butter.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and oats.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Fold in raspberries.  Cook pancakes on a large, non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat until done.

SIMPLE BROILED SALMON  (via Super FoodsRx Diet)

Makes 2 servings

2 (3-4 ounce raw) fresh salmon fillets, skinned

1 Tbls. low-sodium soy sauce

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbls. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. black pepper

2 lemon wedges

Place the salmon in a shallow baking dish.  Combine the soy sauce, oil, lemon juice, chives and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the salmon and allow it to marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes of marinating, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Place the baking dish in the oven and broil for 5-7 minutes or until the salmon is golden.  When done, the salmon should flake with slight pressure from a fork.  Garnish each fillet with a lemon wedge.  Serve immediately.

RAW SUPER FUEL (via Richelle Melde of Naked Truth Nutrition)

Makes 1 serving

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 organic avocado

1/2 organic banana, frozen

1/4 cup organic frozen blueberries

1 Tbls. organic raw almond butter

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend to desired consistency.  Yummmmm.

if you don’t like these pumpkin recipes, you’re out of your gourd…..

Creamy Pumpkin Rice Pudding  (Find the recipe at Better Homes and Gardens or click HERE)

Yummy Pumpkin Spice Granola  (Find the recipe at Disney Family or click HERE)

Fresh Pumpkin Ravioli (Find the recipe at Love and Olive Oil or click HERE)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup (Find the recipe at Tastes Better from Scratch or click HERE)

Pumpkin Maple Macaroni and Cheese  (Find the recipe at The Fig Tree or click HERE)

THESE ARE ALL SUCH GREAT RECIPES, I WANTED YOU TO SEE THESE WEBSITES FOR YOURSELF!  ENJOY!!

your kid’s lunchbox…what’s inside?

Little Bobby backed up?  Well, with school starting up for most kids in  AZ, we need to be sure that we have lots of fiber in his lunchbox!

So one of the best ways to keep your child regular and promote his digestive health is to feed him plenty of fiber. Instead of sitting him down at the counter with a big bowl of sugary cereal, try these dietitian-approved, kid-friendly snacks and lunch items that will go down easy in every way. ( via WebMD)

Homemade Trail Mix

Help kids make their own trail mix by putting out bowls of dried fruit, nuts, or seeds along with a higher-fiber cereal, and mixing them up into to-go containers or plastic bags, recommends Louise Goldberg, RD, LD, owner of An Apple A Day Nutrition Consulting in Houston, Texas, and formerly a dietitian at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. (Just be sure to minimize the sugary “treat” ingredients, like chocolate chips or other candies.)

Flavorful Fruits and Veggies

Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber –particularly with the skin on. If your child resists them, try making them fun by spearing fruit and veggie slices onto a kebab, or making a face with sliced-up fruits and veggies, suggests Beth Pinkos, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian for the department of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, nutrition, and liver diseases at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island.

“You can use raisins for eyes, baby carrots for a nose, and celery for eyebrows, and an apple slice for a smile,” she says.

Remember not to give carrots to children younger than 3 or raisins to kids younger than 4 as they can be a choking hazard.

Creamy Dips

Kids who resist fiber-rich fruits and veggies may also be more adventurous if they can dip them in something first — like yogurt, peanut butter, salad dressing, or hummus.

Mixed-Up Cereals

Having trouble getting your child to try that whole-wheat fiber cereal? Try mixing up a couple of high-fiber cereals with a small amount of one of the less good-for-you options that your child may be drawn to in the cereal aisle.

“Kids like to mix and match cereals like little chemists,” says Pinkos. “Look for a high-fiber cereal that has 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, and then let them mix it up with just a little bit of one of the junkier ones.”

Sandwich in Some Fiber

Just as with cereal, the whole-grain breads or wraps you’re using for your kids’ sandwiches should have at least three grams of fiber per serving.

“Check the package — just because it’s called ‘whole grain,’ that doesn’t always translate to fiber,” says Goldberg. “And don’t be fooled by red- and green-colored wraps — that doesn’t necessarily translate to fiber either.”

Add Color With Berries

In addition to being colorful and sweet, “berries with seeds are very high in fiber, and kids usually love them,” says Goldberg.

Perhaps the highest-fiber berry is the little raspberry. They can be expensive, but it doesn’t take much to amp up the fiber. “Just a quarter cup has about the same amount of fiber as almost an entire apple,” she says.

Grab Some Granola

The granola bar aisle at your local supermarket is probably packed with high-fiber bars. They’re easy to pack and often appealing to kids.

“Kids really like some of the flavors they have now,” says Pinkos. But take care if your child starts treating the bars like candy. “Don’t let them go crazy and go from eating a low-fiber diet to three high-fiber bars a day, because they’ll become gassy and uncomfortable.”

‘Secret’ Ingredients

Some kids may not mind — they may even enjoy it — if you stir some high-fiber granola into their yogurt. Others may rebel against the unexpected crunch. But Goldberg says you can often sneak a little flaxseed into yogurt, applesauce, or a smoothie without your child noticing.

Pop Some Popcorn

What kid doesn’t like popcorn? It’s rich in fiber, and as long as you avoid the heavily salted and buttered varieties, it’s pretty healthy in general as well. “You can also try making popcorn balls with dried fruits and nuts, assuming your child is old enough for these,” says Pinkos.

3 Snacks to Skip

There are some foods that tend to cause, rather than ease, constipation in children. Two particularly “binding” snacks that are often a big hit among kids are bananas and cheese. There’s no problem with either in moderation, but if your child is having trouble in the bathroom these days, you might try cutting back on the cheese sticks.

Another barrier to good digestive health: heavily processed foods. “For good digestive health, minimize your reliance on refined foods like white sugar, white flour, and white breads and pastas,” advises Goldberg.